tv Washington Week With Gwen Ifill PBS September 18, 2015 7:30pm-8:01pm PDT
gwen: looking to break out. 15 candidates fighting for one gig. we look at the g.o.p. debates tonight on "washington week." >> no. >> the simple fact is donald you cannot say -- >> more energy tonight. i like that. >> it's not that politicians are bad people. they've been in that system forever. >> i think we are in fact the a-team. gwen: it was hot. it was sweaty. and it was on. the republican candidates for president competing for the reagan legacy. >> by the way, i think i actually flew on this plane with ronald reagan when i was a congressman. and his goals and mine really pretty much the same. gwen: the right to challenge a democratic nominee. >> this administration with president obama and hillary
clinton have resulted in insecurity the likes of which we have never imagined. >> let's ask hillary clinton. she believes in the murder of children in the womb to preserve their body parts. gwen: the targeting question fought right back. >> this is just the usual back-and-forth political attacks. the kinds of things you say when you're on a debate stage. and you really don't have much else to say. gwen: and they elbowed each other aside for the chance to knock donald trump out of first place. >> mr. trump, we don't need an apprentice in the white house. we don't need an apprentice in the white house. we have one right now. gwen: did anyone win? covering this eventful week molly ball, national political correspondent for "the atlantic" magazine. eamon javers, national political correspondent for cnbc. manu raju, senior political correspondent for cnn. and karen tumulty, national political correspondent for "the washington post." >> award winning reporting and analysis, covering hifflet as
it happens. -- history as it happens. from our nation's capital this is "washington week with gwen ifill." corporate funding for "washington week" is provided by -- >> how much money do you have in your pocket right now? >> i have $40. >> $21. >> could something that small make an impact on something as big as your retirement? >> i don't think so. >> well, if you start putting that money toward your retirement every week, and let it grow over time, for 20, 30 years, that retirement challenge might not seem so big after all. >> additional funding is provided by newman's own foundation. donating all profits from newman's own food products to charity. and nourishing the common good. the corporation for public broadcasting and by
contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. once again, from washington, moderator gwen ifill. gwen: good evening. i would be the last one to tell you that this week's republican debate has redefined the course of the 2016 election. in fact, if we have learned anything about this campaign so far, it is to expect the unexpected. but if you were watching this debate to learn something about who these candidates are, and 23 million people did, you learned a lot. carly fiorina kime prepared to seize her first big moment on the debate stage. >> i'll tell you why people are supporting outsiders. because you know what happens if someone has been in the system their whole life, they don't know how broken the system is. a fish swims in water, it doesn't know it's water. it's not that politicians are bad people. they've been in that system forever. gwen: donald trump proved once
again that he is incapable of apologizing to anyone. >> to subject my wife to the middle of a raucous political conversation was completely inappropriate. and i hope you apologize for that, donald. >> well i have to tell you i hear phenomenal things. i hear your wife is a lovely woman. >> she s she's fantastic. >> i don't know her -- >> the love of my life and right here and why don't you apologize to her. >> i won't do that because i said nothing wrong. gwen: and jeb bush finally came prepared to answer questions about his brother. >> you know what? as it relates to my brother, there's one thing i know for sure. he kept us safe. i don't know if you remember -- [applause] the -- you remember firefighter with his arms around it, he sent a clear signal that the united states would be strong and fight islamic terrorism. and he did keep us safe. >> i don't know. you feel safe right now? i don't feel so safe. gwen: everyone arrived with a
game plan. let's see who did what they came to do. and what this means now beginning with the frontrunner mr. trump. did he do -- what did he come to do? >> well, he came to stay on top certainly. and he came to put on another installment in this long running donald trump show that a lot of people thought would be canceled a lot sooner but it still hasn't been. you know, i was surprised that -- i thought donald trump was off of his game at the debate this week. i thought he was a little bit tentative. he got into some things he couldn't get out of. he couldn't bluster through some of these questions. now, of course, he was the center of focus, the center of the stage, the center of a lot of the attacks. but, you know, carly fiorina took some shots at him that really landed. and he was thrown off balance. and she really got under his skin in a way we haven't seen anyone be able to do. and i think that -- for someone whose persona is so dependent on being the alpha male, when he gets off balance like that, it really shakes the whole edifice of his persona. gwen: what do you think about
that, karen? >> i think the other thing that happened was that there was a lot of policy discussed. a lot of these candidates really digging down into some pretty nitty-gritty questions of policy. and when that is where the conversation was, suddenly donald trump was silent for very, very long stretches. gwen: let me share an example. there was a moment where he was asked about a question he was asked by the radio host who was actually one of the questioners at the debate, hugh hewitt, about people who are enemies to america. and he named names. and asked donald trump if he knew the difference. and this was trump's reaction when he was asked about why he didn't seem to. >> ok. so i will say this, though. you giving me name after name, arab name, arab name, and there are few people anywhere, anywhere, that would have known those names. i think he's reading them off a sheet. gwen: ok. this is what marco rubio had to say right after that. >> well, you should ask him
questions in detail about foreign policy questions our president will confront because you better lead the cribt on the first day, not six months from now on the first day the president could confront a national security crisis. gwen: what about that? that's a perfect case where he didn't quite have the comeback. >> that's right. and it really was a big moment there for marco rubio. of course, he's one of the youngest -- the youngest candidate in this race. a first-term senator and one of the big questions about him is whether or not he has the experience to run, whether or not he can be commander in chief on day one. and the way that he kind of put donald trump in his place helped resolve some of those questions. and it showed a real contrast. and something that trump is going to have to grapple with. whether or not he can actually pass the commander in chief test. gwen: and i want you to weigh in on this. the other big moment of course involved carly fiorina. we all know by now that he gave an interview to rolling stone in which he said that, who quoff liked that face and she
was asked about this last night. >> i think women all over this country heard very clearly what mr. trump said. [applause] >> i think she's got a beautiful face and i think she's a beautiful woman. >> the thing about that moment is donald trump had to know that question was coming and she was going to hit him hard on it which she did. and he had to have planned a response. and that was the response he planned. was to compliment her looks. gwen: don't you think in donald trump's world women generally say that's great, donald, thank you. i think he thinks calling a woman beautiful, even in a professional situation, is a compliment. >> i think you could tell by the look on his face as he made that comment, that he thought he was giving her one of the best compliments he could give her. and it was clearly just a tone deaf moment. one of a number of tone deaf moments and you talk about that exchange with marco rubio. there was this fascinating moment where donald trump was actually at the point where he
had to promise that he would learn the issues by the time he was elected. and i've never heard a presidential candidate really ever make that admission or make that promise. and so donald trump continues to break all the rules. whether that's going to have an impact on his standing in the polls because his appeal seems to be not based at all on his command of the issues. it's based on a whole bunch of other things. we're going to have to wait and see. >> it's interesting. that answer of hers. i know women in america heard this. the morning after the debate, carly fiorina was asked on -- on msnbc, morning joe, why she did so well and she said because i stood there and i really listened. and i paid attention. and i think that listening is a real underrated and underused skill on the part of politicians. and i think that's why her performance was so strong. she wasn't just spouting talking points. these weren't canned answers. if you heard that answer that burn she delivered to trump, this was something where trump had just said to jeb bush, i don't care if you try to take
it back. i heard what you said. and carly fiorina took that and turned it around on him. she said i don't care if you try to take it back. i heard what you said and the women heard what you said. so that was her sort of deftness. >> and the real question for carly whether or not she can turn this into money. and she's not been able to raise nearly the amount of money that a lot of her rivals have been able to pull in. and whether or not she can start building that organization and some of those key states early. how much momentum will she get out of this? gwen: hearings the other thing she did which i don't think people noticed as much. she made a pretty bold foray for the conservative vote. in talking about the planned parenthood controversy. she laid it right out there. and she had this to say. >> i dare hillary clinton, barack obama, to watch these tapes. watch a fully formed fetus on the table. its heartbeating. its legs kicking. while someone says we have to keep it alive to harvest its
brain. this is about the character of our nation. and if we will not stand up and force president obama to veto this bill, shame on us. gwen: now, here's what's interesting about that. obviously it speaks right to the heart of people who think planned parenthood should be shut down. that people in washington are it and not ot doing speak -- speaking to her crowd and doing it very directly. it should be said the tapes she is talking about was not actually a planned parenthood tape. it was some stock footage that was put on top of the footage. >> but you heard the quiver in her voice as she was delivering that. and anger and the steeliness behind that comment. that's going to resonate well with a lot of republican primary voters. that was one of a couple of emotional moments that she had in addition to the donald trump response and brought up the death of a child due to drug addiction. and it was a very powerful moment. she kind of veered off of it a little bit. after she put that out there.
and kind of missed really landerring the full emotional impact. but she was very deft in bringing these emotional moments to the stage where the other candidates didn't have that range on display. gwen: chris christie tried to talking about people seizing the moment and came with a plan and coming back to this question of it's not about us. it's about them. and part of it was pushing back at carly fiorina and donald trump. let's listen to that. >> the fact is that we don't want to hear about your careers. back and forth and volleying back and forth and who did well and who -- you're both successful people and congratulations who is not successful is the middle class getting plowed over by barack obama and hillary clinton. let's start talking about those issues tonight and stop this childish back and forth between the two of you. gwen: was in a do or die night for chris christie? >> absolutely. i think his campaign is struggling. he's 10th or 11th in the field depending on what polls you look at. and his donors are getting
antsy. he's really got to prove he still belongs on that stage. i thought christie had a really interesting and successful strategy to number one emote in that way and show sympathy. empathy. gwen: straight talker over here. >> and not do it in an angry way and not be the ranty chris christie but the chris christie who chews people out on youtube. and that sort of has created a bad image for him since bridgegate and wants to show the side of him that is compassionate. that is funny. that is lively and emotional. he sort of wears his heart on his sleeve but that's not always in anger. and so he had a few good moments i thought last night. gwen: who else had a do or die night last night, karen? >> scott crosswalker. the governor of wisconsin. -- scott walker. the governor of wisconsin. he had a few lines he managed to get in. but for most of the evening, he was pretty invisible. and he, i think, of all the
candidates on stage, could least afford that. because his decline from frontrunner in iowa to practically an asterisk has been so precipitous. >> in iowa has been his strategy. he needs to do well in iowa and that's been the goal of him all along and he has seen that decline. talking to some of his donors and his supporters after the debate, a lot of people are very nervous and think that it's time for a shakeup in his campaign. in order to get things straight. because last night, did not calm any of those nerves. gwen: the interesting thing about it is his people let it be known in advance that he was going to come out kind of like jeb bush's people. he was going to come out slugging. he was going to come out and take on donald trump. and he tried. >> he didn't really. there was -- gwen: didn't land a punch. >> the one line about the apprentice. and that's one in a seemed like it had been prerehearsed and you use that -- >> and it was yong. if you're going to come in with a canned joke have it be accurate. donald trump is not the
apprentice. >> what's fascinating is the range of views on so many different subjects among these republicans. you had a lot of different candidates from a lot of different parts of the republican party up there. from rand paul to donald trump. whichever part of the republican party he represents. and so on everything from putin to march wanna to the iran deal a bunch of different options for republican voters to choose from there. should we be talking to putin? should we be refusing to talk to putin and be befrenged putin or gritting our teeth and treating him like mikhail gorbachev? there were a lot of options for republican voters to choose. and where that all sorts out is going to be hard to tell. because there were so many. you kind of get lost in the confusion. gwen: one of the options is the optionings the democrats are struggling with which is do you want another bush or another clinton? that's the one that rand paul actually sees. let's listen to what he said. >> there will always be a bush or clinton for you if you want to go back to war in iraq.
the first war was a mistake and i'm not sending our sons and our daughters back to iraq. gwen: well, you heard donald trump, i think, say that he wouldn't have supported the war in iraq. and you -- ben carson. say it. and you also had rand paul say it. but you have other hawks in the party. >> you do. and rand paul has sort of been struggling with being the libertarian that his dad was. and also acceptable to the establishment wing of the party. and he's tried to figure out his way to navigate those two wings. and i think last night you saw him try to go back to his more traditional roots. and the libertarian wing of the party. and try to appeal to those same ron paul supporters. just like scott walker rand paul has seen his decline, his standing erode pretty dramatically in the polls. and he needed something to shake things up. i'm just not sure if he did that. >> especially when you have that moment, several moments where you saw jeb bush coming to terms with his own last name. during the debate.
as the clip you showed earlier, about keeping the country safe, at one point he acknowledges that he smoked marijuana in high school and my mother is unhappy with me -- sorry, mom. gwen: and he tweeted out sorry, mom. always good to remind people that barbara bush is your mother, i guess. >> that was another thing for those of us following social media during the debate. he is standing there and yet tweeting at the same time. and -- >> multitasking. >> and in the meantime, i got some notification of him joining some other social -- vine. he joined vine. during the debate. gwen: and who the biggest winner was on social media during the debate, bernie sanders. his facebook posting completely -- outstripped anything the republicans posted or their diopal gangers. >> or the hashtag of the hot guy behind the moderator. he got a lot of attention on twitter. that guy -- >> i think he got an agent the next day.
he's off to the races. gwen: a long night. three hours. you got to look at something. let's talk about john kasich and other people who were hoping that this would be a big moment. john kasich is the -- if you don't like bush, i'm the not exactly -- i'm the middle of the road guy. i'm the guy who will just say that maybe a government shutdown is a bad idea. let's listen. >> all we're going to do is shut the government down and then we're going to open up. open it up and the american people are going to shake their heads and say what's the story with these republicans? i would not be for shutting the government down because i don't think it's going to work out. gwen: so that's what -- if you're ted cruz, however, who of course was standing on that stage, that's exactly what we should be doing. pushing back. shutting the government down. >> yeah. i thought with kasich it was interesting. a little bit of a man out of time. i remember covering him when he was on capitol hill in the 1990's. he was referring -- flying on the reagan plane. in the 1980's and things he did in the 1990's and i'm not sure how many republican primary voters remember that he was a factor in the 1980's and
1990's. he might have been out of step in that way. >> the median age of the republican primary voter -- they may remember ironically that he did shut the government down. in the 1990's. he was one of newt gingrich's chief lieutenants. and he thinks that's a bad idea. a little bit of an evolution there. i think kasich is making that bid to be the establishment alternative to jeb. he does have a lot of buzz in like the donor circle -- gwen: in new hampshire. >> in new hampshire. but people thought he had a good debate last time, too. he barely budged in the national polls. >> and getting back to that moment, that was a very big moment for ted cruz. because nothing more that he wants than a battle over planned parenthood. and he will say that if there's a government shutdown it will be the democrats' fault but he will also blame the republicans in washington for not fighting hard enough on planned parenthood. people like john kasich for not fighting hard enough. it's a clear way to distinguish himself from his rivals. but also showcase that he's the one actually fighting for the conservative cause. >> a classic moment in politics
when you see a sitting united states senator who was -- a member of the republican party blaming the washington republicans for all kinds of failures. aren't you a washington -- gwen: oh, that. that was marco rubio's defense of him. not showing up to vote. washington. it doesn't get anything done anyway. so i'm a sitting united states senator. why vote? >> and speaking of outsiders the person whose numbers i'm going to be interested to watch over the next few weeks is ben carson. who really had a very good first debate. he comes off as a different kind of presence. sort of a gentle presence on that stage. gwen: but he leaned away from the opportunity of questioning donald trump on his anti-vaccination stance. as a physician, you would have expected him to be able to say directly, i don't know that that is a good idea but he danced all the way around it. >> he started out going after it but by the end oh, yeah, you're right. because donald trump -- i space out the vaccines and don't follow the regular schedule. gwen: someone did it for him is
the way he phrased it. >> but if in fact carly fiorina does rise in the polls, i think as a lot of people expect her to, i'll be interested in seeing whose numbers she is taking. and there's a good chance it's going to be ben carson. gwen: really? because -- even -- in part because of that passionate answer on planned parenthood? >> and outcider space. gwen: and also mentioned a cancer survivor and mentioned that she lost a child to drug abuse. she also managed to humanize herself at the same time when she was taking them on. things i did know about her was interesting. if you're a democrat and watching this debate and hillary clinton or bernie sanders or martin o'malley desperate for more debates who do you see as your biggest stretch? >> if you're joe biden and watching this i think i can -- gwen: can take these guys. >> if you're joe biden you look at that. a lot of experience in debates. over the years. gwen: but isn't that the same thing as republicans saying i will beat hillary before they can pass their own field?
>> sure. and all this is ego. all these candidates are enormous ego maniacs and you have to be to put yourself forward for the presidency of the united states to have that confidence in yourself. so i think the question is how much is it going to disrupt the democratic field as democratic voters watch the republicans winnowing out a very large field and they look at their field and say we only have a couple of choices here. how does that impact -- we saw hillary clinton come out the next day and say she would be at least open to some more debates. the question is -- and -- >> and she put it on the d.n.c. and said the democratic national committee. and making that decision. she has no influence. i'm sure. >> and getting back to your question that -- when i was here talking to democrats next mork morning after the debate the feeling was that rubio could potentially present the greatest threat. because he's very polished on the debate stage and he -- face hillary clinton accentuates all the differences and all her vulnerabilities. and his performances in the last two debates give some of them -- make them somewhat
worried. gwen: and lose the immigration issue by dividing it into people who come here legally and people who come here illegally. and people who need to be -- people who will be returned. he made it into -- he made it into bite sized chunks. what do you think about what the democrats are looking at and quoring about? >> well, don't forget the context, too, of this is finds that hillary clinton is still -- she's still got a big lead in this primary but she is slipping dramatically. and in our poll this week, slipping dramatically among women. gwen: that really struck me. that was interesting. >> so democratic women. gwen: who are going where? >> actually, both bernie sanders and joe biden who's not even in the race have moved -- we're talking over an eight-week period. have each of them have moved into the low 20's. against her. gwen: and argues eamon's point about joe biden. >> at some point if you're not running and polling in the 20's at some point it becomes a campaign. >> and you want to be president
your whole life. >> he's been campaigning since 1984, right? >> all this chaos on the republican side is a life raft for the democrats. who are pretty worried. and they're not sure quite how worried they should be. but they look at what's happening to hillary. she has not been this unfavorably rated since -- she was not this disliked through the entirety of the 2008 campaign. her ratings now are worse than they've been since she's had her own sort of stand alone political career. she's really in bad shape. she hasn't been able to turn things around. she's still having trouble answering questions. when she's answering questions. gwen: and so they take some glee, looking at the republicans and say hey, maybe there's a little avenue. >> the number one argument well, it's not that bad. and maybe they'll beat themselves. gwen: that's why what the republicans are saying about the democrats, too. thank you, everybody. we have to go for now. but as always, the conversation will continue online. on the "washington week" webcast extra.
where among other things we'll talk a little more about the undercard debate. and about one democrat's push to add more debates to their schedule. you can find it all week long at pbs.org/washingtonweek. while you're online check out our new voter initiative. 16 for 2016. where we invite you to comment on the 2016 presidential race. send us your photos or upload a video to join the conversation about the election. and monday night, join me and south carolina where i'll host a pbs town hall meeting and america after charleston. where we'll tackle the lingering national wounds about race, policing, and how we see each other. that's at 9:00 p.m. eastern time on your pbs station. keep up with developments with judy woodruff and me on "the pbs newshour" and we'll see you here next week on "washington week." good night.
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♪ good evening and welcome to kqed "newsroom." i'm trivoo. fire crews are battling a wildfire that has destroyed more than 600 homes in lake county. they're worried that warm weather could add fuel to the blaze. three people have died in the fire and at least one person remains missing. four firefighters have suffered burns. the blaze known as the valley fire ignited last saturday and is burning in parts of lake, sonoma and napa counties. it's one of more than 5,000 wildfires scorching the state this year according to cal fire. marco loducci of the governor's office of emergency services says this year's fires have been especially difficult to figh